Next Monday honors the Rev. Martin Luther King Jr., widely considered the man who inspired the modern Civil Rights movement. Through his “I Have a Dream Speech” at the Aug. 23, 1963 Civil Rights March in Washington, D.C., King motivated millions to work toward equality for all. King might have said he was nothing more than one man with a gift for oratory and organizing, and that the movement was won by the collective efforts of many.
Fifty-five years after his speech, and 48 years after an assassin murdered King, he might be surprised at how far we have come — and how far we have to go. Equality in law has been extended not just on the basis of race, but sex, national origin, disability and sexual orientation. Same sex couples can marry and adopt children. Barriers to advancement have been broken down. Women can seek careers. Men can set aside careers to care for children. In Homer, a wall of championship wrestlers honored at the city council included a few girls.
We have a long way to go but have come far, too. And if you’re thinking of how far we’ve come in space, consider this. As the sun and solar system moves around the circle of the Milky Way Galaxy, we zip along at 483,000 miles per hour or 11.5 million miles a day. Since King gave his speech, we’ve traveled almost 225 billion miles. And you thought we weren’t going anywhere.
So celebrate your long journey and how far we’ve come politically and physically, maybe with these Best Bets:
BEST BIG THANKS BET: From DJs spinning new tunes to people answering phones at pledge drives, KBBI Public Radio runs on volunteers. Give a big shout-out to them at 5:30 p.m. today for KBBI’s annual meeting and volunteer appreciation night at Homer Council on the Arts. Bring a dish for the potluck.
BEST GET OUT AND PLAY BET: Yeah, the snow might be crummy here, but there’s a big world outside still. Get inspired with the annual MountainFilm on Tour, playing at 7 p.m. and Saturday at the Homer High School Mariner Theatre. A new set plays each night. Admission is $10 each night and benefits Community Recreation. Don’t miss the ski and outdoor gear swap at 5:30 p.m. today in the high school commons.
BEST EYES ON THE INLET BET: Homer’s birding community has been on the front lines for events like the big murre dieoff. Learn about all the species here this winter from some of the state’s top birders at the monthly Kachemak Bay Birders trip at 10:30 a.m. Saturday at the Anchor Point beach parking lot. Meet at 10 a.m. at the Alaska Islands and Ocean Visitor Center to carpool. They’ll look for birds on the high tide. Dress warmly and bring binoculars, spotting scopes and bird books if you have them.
BEST RIGHT ON BET: Monday also is Civil Rights Day. For an Alaska perspective on the civil rights struggle, author, actress and teacher Diane Benson presents “Alaska Native Civil Rights and the Challenges of Violence” at 6:30 p.m. Monday at the Kachemak Bay Campus.